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Text: U.S.

Says Global Help is Key to Stopping Terror Funds

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Text: U.S. Says Global Help is Key to Stopping Terror Funds
(Treasury's Dam says focus remains on al Qaeda network) January 30, 2002 The campaign to disrupt terrorist funding networks will require deeper and stronger cooperation among the United States and its allies, Deputy Treasury Secretary Kenneth Dam told a Senate panel. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, the United States and other countries have blocked $80 million in terrorist-related assets, he said. Half of the total — $46 million -- has been blocked by foreign governments, Dam said, adding that 147 countries and jurisdictions in the world have blocking orders in place. "I cannot emphasize enough how vitally important international cooperation is," Dam told the Senate Banking Committee January 29. "After all, we cannot bomb foreign bank accounts. We need the cooperation of foreign governments to investigate and block them." The United States is helping a number of countries participate more fully in the anti-terror campaign by providing technical assistance that will help them develop the legal and enforcement infrastructure they need to find and freeze terrorist assets, he said. Dam indicated that building on the progress made to date would require broader cooperation on the financial front. "We must encourage more independent identification of terrorist groups by other countries," Dam said. "Second, we have to ensure that more countries issue blocking orders for more of the entities identified by the United States, other countries, and the international financial community as being part of terrorist financial networks." Another priority will be reviewing the documents, computer drives and e-mails captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere. "This is a massive task," Dam said. "To do it, we must bring documents together from all over the world, translate them, cross-reference them, and thereby build a complete picture. No one document can tell us that much." U.S. and allied intelligence services need to "redouble" their efforts to detect and follow terrorist money exchanges through "hawala" dealers and other informal banking systems, he said. Dam stressed that such information can lead to devastating legal action against terrorist groups. When U.S. officials shut down the offices of the Al-Barakaat hawala, they seized $1.9 million in assets, but disrupted the flow of about $15-20 million that would have been channeled to terrorist organizations during the year. "It is important, therefore, to keep an eye on the flow of funds — how much money moved through a pipeline that we froze ~ as well as how much money happened to be in the pipeline when we froze it," he said.